E-commerce propelled by linguistics

Speakers of Southeast Asian languages help drive cross-border biz in Nanning

Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has seen a spark in business thanks to residents who speak languages that, while regionally important, are not spoken widely across the globe, officials said.

The city is incubating its cross-border e-commerce livestreaming business as a result of the talent living there being fluent in what are sometimes called minor languages.

Unlike Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Nanning doesn’t possess many advantages in the e-commerce supply chain.

Yet, with a low cost of living and government support for foreign trade with Southeast Asian nations, Nanning has shown an important strength. The city has also benefited from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement that took effect on Jan 1, 2022.

The RCEP agreement covers 15 Asia-Pacific countries, which include 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Over the next 20 years, the pact is expected to reduce up to 90 percent of tariffs on goods traded among its members.

Nanning is located close to Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Many foreigners have gravitated to Nanning, which has provided the city with a diverse language pool.

Nutchaya Seyungkun, a young Thai livestreaming anchor, has continued to live and work in Nanning after her graduation from Guangxi Minzu University in 2020.Besides anchoring e-commerce livestreaming sessions, Seyungkun said she is considering opening a Sino-Thai cultural company to promote exchange between the two countries.

During the fifth China International Import Expo held in Shanghai in November, Seyungkun set up a demonstration livestreaming session representing Guangxi. During the 19th China-ASEAN Expo held in Nanning in September, Seyungkun recommended Thai products at a booth.

Livestreaming has reshaped the e-commerce business in China, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Anchors serve as the core of the livestreaming sector, and providing a competitive salary has been critical for retaining talent.

Anchors who speak minor languages and conduct livestreaming sessions often earn 4,000 yuan ($596) to 5,000 yuan monthly, comparable to the average level of local salaries, based on public recruitment information. In higher-cost cities such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Shenzhen, the monthly salary of a similar job is often above 10,000 yuan.

One company, Guangxi Tus Innovation Cross-Border E-Commerce Co Ltd, has recruited international students in cooperation with a number of domestic colleges, officials said. They have attracted students from Southeast Asia who are eager to learn about cross-border e-commerce and encouraged them to start their own businesses in China.

The company has also helped overseas returnees and high-level overseas talent engage in cross-border e-commerce entrepreneurship or work in Guangxi.

“The popularity of cross-border e-commerce livestreaming in minor languages in Nanning is expected to rise continuously and drive the accumulation of resources such as talent, materials and more cross-border platforms,” said Zhao Hui, head of overseas projects at Guangxi Tus.

Source : chinadaily.com.cn/ For more details

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